What Are Weekly Active Users? + 5 Easy Tips to Boost WAU

WAU measures the number of people who engage with your app/website over a week. Find out why this metric matters and how you can improve it.

weekly active users

Weekly Active Users (WAU) are the number of unique users who engage with an application over a week. 

Now you may be thinking… 

Why should I track my weekly active users?
How can I calculate it? 

We’ll answer these questions and highlight five no-nonsense ways to boost your app’s WAU

This Article Covers:

Let’s get started.

What Are Weekly Active Users?

Weekly Active Users (WAU) is a metric that measures the number of unique users who engage with an app or website over a seven-day period. It’s also known as the Weekly Health Score or Customer Engagement Score.

WAU can help businesses understand user engagement and growth and can be used to measure app success, gauge customer engagement, and determine app stickiness.

What counts as engagement?
Here are some (relevant) examples of engagement within a few well-known apps:

  • Interacting with posts on social media apps like Facebook
  • Adding a product to your cart on Amazon 
  • Watching a movie on Netflix 
  • Downloading or logging into MS Office 

You can use various identifiers like user ID, email ID, or IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers – for Apple users) to get your active user count. 

Now, there are two types of weekly active users:

  • New weekly active users: People who interact with your app for the first time in a given week. The user onboarding process they receive deeply influences the decisions of these new users.
  • Recurring weekly active users: Users who return to your app throughout the selected period (week). These users are responsible for recurring revenue and the retention metrics of your business.

Next, let’s look at the steps to calculate your weekly active users.

How to calculate WAU?

To calculate WAU, you can:

  • Define the criteria for an active user — what action they need to take in the app or platform to be considered active. For example, do you count anyone who opens your app as an active user, or should they interact by clicking a button or scrolling?
  • Collect the user data for a seven-day period using a web analytics tool.
  • Remove any duplicate users.

For example, let’s say you have a mobile game, and your web analytics tool recorded the following data in the selected time period (last 7 days):

  • 1000 users opened your game app
  • 800 users scrolled through the different game modes
  • 700 users played any of the game modes

Now let’s calculate your WAU by different criteria:

  • If you count any user who opens your game as an active user, then your WAU is 1000.
  • If you only count users who at least scroll through the game modes as active users, then your WAU is 800.
  • If your users need to play your game before you count them as active users, then your WAU is 700.

But what if you have multiple criteria for active users that aren’t sequential?

For example, let’s say you have a fitness app where users can:

  • Find exercise routines
  • Watch exercise instruction videos
  • Track their sets and reps
  • Track their nutritional data

Remember not to double-count active users who complete multiple actions.

After all, if someone watches an instruction video and enters their nutritional data, they’re still only one unique visitor.

Here’s a pro tip: 

Use a web analytics tool like Google Analytics, Userpilot, Heap, Power BI, Amplitude, etc., that: 

  • Lets you customize the event/events that count as an activity (it can be different for different businesses).
  • Enables you to segment and group users based on their activity.
  • Has comprehensive analytics that you can easily share.

Now, do you want to know what a good WAU would be for your app?

WAU Benchmarks

So what’s the ideal WAU benchmark you should aim for?

To tell you the truth, determining the ideal WAU benchmark is nearly impossible. 

The weekly active users metric varies according to application type, purpose, user type, and other factors. It also depends on how any company sets its criteria. (A company that considers any user who opens their app as active will have far higher numbers than companies that only consider them active if they complete specific actions.)

For example: 

  • Company A is a new skincare startup specializing in vegan products. Their main goal is to create awareness and reach a wider audience. For them, the best way to measure their WAU would be to look at the number of unique users who view their site or mobile app.
  • Company B is another skincare company offering vegan products, but it’s older than company A. Their main aim would be to get more sales and increase user retention. The measurement for their WAU would be the total number of returning and unique active users who add products to their cart and/or complete the transaction from their website or app.

Bottom line: Different businesses have different definitions of active users based on their growth goals, even within the same industry. 

So instead of looking for a set active user count, consider the desired activity level and how you can improve it.

But why should you calculate the number of weekly active users? 

3 Smart Reasons to Track WAU

Here are three compelling reasons to track your weekly active users over monthly users.

1. Gauge Customer Engagement

WAU helps you determine how engaging the users find your app. 

Do you have consistently high user numbers for this metric? 

It indicates increased chances of your subscribers upgrading their plans, making purchases, etc. You can leverage this user behavior information to provide a customized user experience to improve your growth and revenue.

2. Resolve App Issues Quickly

Notice a sudden drop in WAU after an update?

This may indicate your app has a bug (or the update has created a user experience problem).

WAU gives user numbers on a weekly basis. That’s why it’s a great way to get to the source of the problem quickly and rectify it promptly rather than waiting for the Monthly Active Users MAU report. 

3. Determine App Stickiness

WAU can help you determine your app’s stickiness — which measures how often the users return to the app.

App and mobile marketers usually use the DAU to MAU ratio to measure the app’s stickiness:

[DAU (Daily Active Users) / MAU] x 100 

But you can substitute DAU with WAU to gauge the app’s stickiness for a given week.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you have 600 monthly users (active), and 150 of those users interact with the product in the given week. 

Then, your app has a stickiness of:

150 / 600 x 100 = 25%

An average stickiness of 20% is considered good across all industries, and 25% is considered extraordinary.

Looking for ways to boost your active users per week? 
Keep reading. 

5 No-Nonsense Tips to Increase WAU

If you want to boost the success of your app, you’ll want to increase the WAU. These are some ways to achieve just that:

1. Send Push Notifications

A timely push notification can effectively convey important information and keep your users engaged.

The catch?
If you send too many push notifications, it can quickly result in an inactive user and also increase the total number of uninstalls. 

How to prevent users from getting frustrated and uninstalling the app?

Here are some valuable tips to increase user activity:

  • Ask for permission to send push notifications (and offer them in-app control over what type of notifications they receive).
  • Avoid spamming them with notifications. Fewer is better. Users generally prefer a daily notification over an hourly one.
  • Ensure your notifications are relevant, useful, and personalized. Make them feel like the message is specifically for them.
  • Regularly track the push notification engagement statistics to determine what’s working and what needs improvement.

2. Provide Personalized In-app Messages

Like push notifications, you should personalize your in-app messages to engage your new and existing users better. 

For example, categorize your audience based on location, user behavior, history, usage, etc., and send customized messages with relevant content.

How does this help your retention rate?

Research suggests that brands that use personalized in-app messages see retention rates of 61%-74% within 28 days of sending the message. 

On the other hand, brands that send daily generic content have a dramatically lower user retention rate of just 49% (within the same timeframe).

When your users receive relevant content instead of generic messages, they feel better connected to your brand and are more likely to continue using your app — boosting your WAU and overall growth.

Want to improve customer experience further?
You can send specific emails in response to the in-app user behavior. For example, if a user clicks on a feature you’ve newly added, you can send an email explaining that feature in detail.

3. Improve the Onboarding Experience

Your onboarding process plays an important role in determining whether new users feel comfortable enough to use your app regularly.

How do you ensure a great onboarding experience?

Offer customized onboarding emails in addition to the in-app instructions to help customers understand your product usage in detail.

For example, sending emails containing links to ‘how to’ guides on your blog can quickly answer most new users’ questions.

Pro tip: Using gamification (like loyalty points, spin-the-wheel, and scratch cards) in your app/website can greatly increase user engagement and experience!

Remember: A great customer experience goes a long way in engaging your customers and increasing the lifetime value of active users.

4. Use Deep Linking to enhance Experience

Deep links send users to specific in-app locations, so they don’t have to search a page themselves. 

It dramatically increases the customer experience and boosts retention.

Imagine this:

You’ve sent relevant, personalized emails with an upcoming tempting offer that will inspire some action. 

But if the offer link lands on your home page instead of the appropriate product or subscription page, the user might feel frustrated and leave the app without taking any action.

Instead, if you send a link to the offer page directly, users are more likely to take the desired action — increasing your number of active users.

5. Ask for Feedback

If you’re having trouble increasing your active users even after following the above tips, you should directly talk to your customers.

Schedule feedback calls, send feedback forms, etc., to understand customer expectations.

Ask questions that will help you recognize your customer’s problems, their reason for using the app, and their reason for not using it.

Pro tip: Avoid using these product usage interactions for selling or justifying your app. It should be for research purposes only.

3 FAQs about Active Users

Got some more questions?
We got you covered. 

1. What Are the Most Commonly Used Measurement Periods for Active Users?

You can measure an active user in three time periods:

  • Weekly Active User (WAU): Users who have used your application within a given week (7 days).
  • Daily Active User (DAU): These are users who have interacted with your app on a given day. For example, if 200 people interact with your app (as per your activity criteria) on January 23, then your daily active users for that day will be 200.
  • Monthly Active User (MAU): A monthly active user is someone who interacts with your app in a specific month (30 days).

While you may be tempted to use all three user engagement metrics, the most useful metric is the one that suits your industry or business. 

For example, if your app has seasonal usage like holiday bookings or weekend activities, measuring daily users won’t effectively estimate your active users. A weekly or monthly measure will give you a better picture of your app’s user engagement.

2. Why Are Active Users Important?

Active users are essential for any business since they have the potential to generate revenue.

But that’s not all…

Calculating the number of active users of your app can also help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. 

For example, if you notice a spike in user activity after sending a promotional push notification, you know the campaign is fairly successful.

The active user numbers are also helpful for calculating critical metrics like retention rate, customer lifetime value (CLV), net promoter score (NPS), etc.  

3. What Is the Difference Between Users and Active Users?

The fundamental difference between active users and just users is how they interact with your app.

  • Active users: People who perform one or more actions you’ve defined as an ‘active engagement’ in the given period. A user may be active multiple times in a given day, on a weekly basis, or in a month. However, they’re calculated as only one active user for that time frame.
  • Users: You may have users who have only downloaded the app but haven’t used it even once, people who haven’t used the app during the given period, or people who have stopped using the app altogether. They’re not considered active users, but you can still make them active through various re-engagement activities.

Boost App Performance and Engagement with the Right Metrics

WAU is a helpful metric for industries that may not necessarily have users on a daily basis.

This weekly metric can help you measure your app’s performance, user engagement, and stickiness easily. 

Use the tips in this article to effectively amplify your app’s active users.

But to boost your WAU, you must first boost your overall site/app traffic. 
And how do you do that? You need SEO! 

At Startup Voyager, we’re committed to helping you 10X your organic traffic and client conversions with exceptional content, technical SEO, and conversion optimization.

Interested? Let’s chat! 

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